Lilac Way History Research and Resources

This is not a complete list, but sources are added as they are discovered.

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Lilac Way was a historic section of Highway 100, located west of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Just 12.5 miles, it was built in 1934-41 as one of FDR’s Works Project Administration (WPA) projects during the Great Depression.

It had seven roadside parks with ‘beehive’ fireplaces, stone picnic tables and rustic landscaping.

Today, only two parks remain, and a section of a third. Robbinsdale’s Graeser Park was beautifully restored to historic standards by MnDOT from 2021-23.

Roadside Park near Highway 7 in St. Louis Park was renewed and renamed Lilac Park.

Rock Island Park in St. Louis Park is all that remains of the old Lilac Park near Minnetonka Boulevard, and is now owned by the city of St. Louis Park.

This photo gallery shows workers from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) building Highway 100’s Lilac Way during the 1930s.

Borchert, John R. “Belt Line Commercial-Industrial Development: A Case Study in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area.” Borchert.com. (John Robert Borchert, 1918–2001, Dept. of Geography, University of MN.)

Castleman, Monte. 2019. A History of Highway 100 Part One: Overviewstreets.mn, June 12, 2019.

Castleman, Monte. 2019. “A History of Minnesota’s Highways Part One.” streets.mn. July 17, 2019.

Castleman, Monte. 2019. “A History of Highway 100 Part Two: The Parks of Lilac Way.” streets.mn, July 17, 2019. (He includes some parks that were not included in the original seven Lilac Way parks.)

Korf, Jamie and McMurtrey, Garrison. 2015. “Highway 100, Then and Now.” Live | Play | AAA Magazine: May/June 2015.

Hardmeyer, Seth. 2014. “The Beehives of Highway 100, Twin Cities.” HighwayHighlights.com, May 14, 2014.

Munsch, Andrew. 2014. Final Surviving Remnants of the Original Lilac Way in St Louis Park.” DeadPioneer.com, September 14, 2014.

Hatler, Carrie. 2014. “Lilac Way: Showcase of the Belt Line.” ForgottenMinnesota.com, Oct. 17, 2014.

Steffel, Nick. 2008. “Minnesota State Highway 100: The “Lilac Way. James K. Hosmer Special Collections, Hennepin County Library.

Sullivan, Joe. 2008. “Highway 100: Minnesota’s First Freeway Once Known As ‘Beltline’ & ‘Lilac Way’.” City of Edina About Town Magazine, Fall 2008.

St. Louis Park Historical Society. “Highway 100.”

St. Louis Park Historical Society. “Highway 100’s Roadside Parks.”